Evaluation: 6th Global Service Learning Summit

January 30, 2020

Just over two months ago, many of us gathered at Clemson University for GSL6: Inclusion and Transformation in Global Service Learning. We hosted 32 concurrent sessions and shared 20 posters presented by colleagues from internationally diverse institutions of higher education, community-based organizations, and NGOs. The Summit attracted 280 participants representing 69 separate institutions from 27 countries. You can find many of the session and poster materials posted here.

The opening plenary presentation and discussion, led by Natalia Valenzuela Swanson (Mary Black Foundation), Sandra López (Wofford College ‘21), Araceli Hernández-Laroche, Ph.D., (University of South Carolina Upstate), and Laura Barbas-Rhoden, Ph.D., (Wofford College), invited attendees toward inclusive, asset-based community-building through the insights of the local-global inclusivity network in which they have all led: Alianza Hispana of Spartanburg.

 

Aligned with our values – access, inclusion, and the importance of diverse voices and insights – we (Globalsl Network and Clemson University) were able to offer over $17,000 in scholarships to enable  participation of 15 representatives from community-based organizations and residents of the Global South. Additionally, restructuring Globalsl membership benefits to incentivize partners and sponsors to encourage community partner participation allowed five Globalsl partner/ sponsor institutions to invite their partners to the Summit (and support additional costs).    

Thanks to the 66 attendees that completed the GSL 6 evaluation survey to help us distill lessons learned and provide information for future planning for the Globalsl Network. In the interest of transparency, you can access the GSL 6 evaluation overview here. In the evaluation overview you will find: 

    • The majority (66%) of attendees were first timers!
    • The majority of attendees are based on campus – faculty/ administration/ staff (83% of evaluation respondents vs. 66% of attendees).
    • 79% responded “absolutely” & 100% reported absolutely or somewhat when asked if GSL 6 met its goals to explore: 
        • (1) The work and challenge of supporting global learning at home and abroad and the connections that apply in both settings and 
        • (2) Best practices, program models, and ethical approaches for global service-learning and community-campus partnerships.

The open-ended responses provided significant feedback (take-aways, tensions, and recommendations). The evaluation overview provides evidence and quotations for each of these areas. Respondents most appreciated making connections, opportunities for dialogue, exploration of ethics, and direct focus on community partnerships, impact and power dynamics. Tensions included: 

    • Practical tools vs. theoretical/ academic/ critical discussion
    • Introduce ideas/ concerns vs. dig deep/ edgy/ push the limits
    • Who is present and leads/ drives & how much focus should be on higher education and community organizations

In response to feedback, we are working to facilitate opportunities for broad participation and leadership in Globalsl planning. Participants who entered their email address in the survey as being interested in supporting future organizing work, will be contacted. Additionally, readers are invited to attend a  discursive webinar on Globalsl Values, Mission, and Member Commitments on February 6 from 12 – 1:30. Space is limited. Please register here. If you did not complete the survey or did not provide your name, but would like to learn more about opportunities to participate in the organizing/ governing structure, please email buildingbetterworld@gmail.com.

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